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Get rid of Google

I like a lot of stuff that Google is doing, especially that it supports open source. However, I really dislike their attitude towards user privacy. That is why I decided to get rid of Google on my Android phone. However, I had to solve some problems in order to keep user-friendliness at a high level and to be able to use all applications that I need.

The main issues are:

  1. Which ROM do I use?
  2. How do I install software and keep it up to date?
  3. How do I synchronize all my contacts and calendar?
  4. Can I replace applications that do not run without Google Play Services?

The answers are:

Cyanogenmod without Open GApps

I have been using Cyanogenmod for quite some time now and I am very happy with it. After a complete backup, I formatted every possible partition on my phone and did a clean reinstall without Open GApps. This left me with a Google-less Android install.

Application management

Use F-Droid. For applications that are not available in F-Droid, use a service that provides APK files of Google Play Store applications.

This is the main drawback, because this service has to be trusted in that it does not alter the APK files in any way. I decided to use APKPure because it comes with an application that can update all installed applications. I compared the md5 check sums of randomly chosen APK files from APKPure with the one from the Google Play Store and could not find any differences. This problem of completely trusting an unknown organization is still bugging me but I did not find another solution so far (especially because all application stores are incomplete).

Contact and calendar

For contact and calendar synchronization, I use a Raspberry Pi with Nextcloud (or Owncloud) together with DavDroid on the phone (which is available on F-Droid). I am sure there are other services available that do not require an extensive server setup like this one.

Replacement of Google applications

I replaced Google Maps with OsmAnd; Gmail with the native Android mail client; I never used Google Now nor Hangouts nor any other Google application.

So far, this was way easier than I thought. Ironically, a local application that provides information about public transport was the only one that complained about Google Play Services being non-existent. That’s when I dived into this issue and found microG, an open source library that provides replacements for a lot of functions usually provided by Google Play Services.


The setup on Cyanogenmod with Android 6.0.1 is tough because system spoofing needs to be available. This can be done using Haystack or Xposed (do not follow both instruction sets).

Installation of Haystack

A detailed explanation can be found on the GitHub page.

Installation of Xposed

Installation of microG Services Core


Installing Android without Google Play Services was way easier than I thought. However, to enable applications that require certain features like the messaging or the location interface of Google Play Services, extensive tinkering is necessary.